The Supreme Court’s reprieve to four aides of forest brigand Veerappan who were on death row in Belgaum’s Hindalga jail on Tuesday was welcomed with a round of celebration in the villages surrounding Martalli in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district.
The four—Simon, Gnanaprakash, Bilavendra and Meesekara Madaiah—had appealed the apex court against their death sentence, arguing that they should be released as they had been on the death row for an inordinately long period.
“Though the commutation announcement has come late, it has enhanced our trust in the Indian justice system and has delighted the people and families of the four convicts,” Doreyswamy Punjur, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) of Chamarajanagar district told dna.
According to human rights activist Abraham D’Silva: “Capital punishment was against Gandhian philosophy. The Supreme Court commuting the death sentence into life imprisonment has once again upheld the vision of the Father of the Nation.”
Following the commutation, the families of the convicts have decided to appeal to the Supreme Court to house the four in jails in Tamil Nadu or Southern Karnataka as it will be convenient for their families to meet them.
“A decision on whether or not to go in for such an appeal will be taken by the families themselves,” said Punjur.